Broken Pieces: A Library Life, 1941-1978--eEditions e-book

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  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

From his earliest reading memories in wartime Britain through five decades of librarianship, eminent librarian and former ALA President Michael Gorman offers insights from his extraordinary career in this new memoir. Gorman relates his personal and professional journey in prose that is by turns charming, opinioned, and revealing. He made perhaps his most significant contribution to librarianship as editor of the 1978 Anglo- American Cataloguing Rules, a major development that receives detailed attention here. The debates and arguments that would shape professional practice for years to come are dramatically presented, with a vivid cast of characters including leading librarians from two continents. Broken Pieces, Gorman's account of being on the front lines of many of the most important decisions made in librarianship during his career, is a timely and entertaining read.


Chapter 1 Et in Arcadia ego, 1941–1945
Chapter 2 London, 1946–1947
Chapter 3 On the move, 1948–1952
Chapter 4 Finchley Catholic Grammar School, 1952–1957
Chapter 5 Hampstead Public Library, 1957–1960
Chapter 6 Paris and afterwards, 1960–1962
Chapter 7 Marriage, Ealing Public Library, and library school, 1962–1966
Chapter 8 BNB, children, cataloguing, and a crisis, 1966–1969
Chapter 9 BNB, the British Library, 1970–1974
Chapter 10 Illinois, 1974–1975
Chapter 11 Back to England, the University of Illinois Library, 1975–1978
Chapter 12 The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 1968–1978



Michael Gorman

Michael Gorman, dean of libraries at California State University at Fresno, has worked in libraries for some four decades on two continents. He is coauthor with Walt Carwford of the best-selling Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, and Reality (ALA Editions, 1995). A shaper of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, he has won numerous awards and honors, including the Melvil Dewey Medal.

"The contradiction of Michael Gorman is that the man who devoted half of his professional life to cataloging rules and standards confesses (38) to 'my deep-seated resentment of authority' in his teenaged years ... Recommended for research libraries and students of librarianship."
--Catholic Library World

"Those who know Gorman solely as a scholar and respected educator will be surprised by the revelation that he left school at the age of 16 and applied for his first library job because a family friend told his mother, 'Mikey likes reading; why doesn't he work in a library?'... Gorman's memoir will appeal to any librarian or library school student who enjoys reading autobiographies and memoirs. It will especially appeal to catalogers and library educators interested in how cataloging and library education has changed. "
--The OLAC Newsletter

"Bibliothecal autobiography is always welcome because of its rarity--in this case especially so because of the eminence of its author and because he is almost the only person writing sensibly about cataloguing at present ... The story here ends in 1978, leaving us eager for more."
--CILIP Update

"These broken pieces add up to a compelling portrayal of what makes the author who he is. Laboriously indexed and with meaty citations, it is also the work of a scholar detailing pivotal developments in library history in the 20th century, with particular reference to cataloging. Throughout, the earnestness of Gorman's passion for libraries is the central, unifying theme ... His book is an inspiring read for all librarians and anyone concerned with the preservation of the intellectual record."
--Against the Grain

"Librarians (and descriptive catalogers in particular) will come away with a deeper appreciation of the intellectual, literary, and service-oriented underpinnings of librarianship ... He identifies the library as an important social center and shines a keen eye on its capacity to empower the populace, and he reminds us of the highest ideals that can inform our own appreciation of and devotion to the profession."
--Colorado Libraries Journal